News & Events

Rethinking scientific presentations: The assertion-evidence approach

Friday, January 26, 2018, 10:00AM - 12:00PM


Michael Alley

Engineering Communication, Pennsylvania State University


SEEC Auditorium (C120)

4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, the Graduate School and the 3MT Program invite you to a workshop on research presentations by Michael Alley.

From an audience's perspective, many presentations in science and engineering suffer because the talks are unfocused. This lack of focus leads to much noise, which reduces the understanding by the audience. Much of the problem arises from speakers following PowerPoint's defaults and building their talks on phrase headlines supported by bulleted lists. This workshop presents the assertion-evidence approach ( to designing scientific presentations. In this approach, the speaker builds the talk on key messages supported by visual evidence. Our research has found that assertion-evidence talks are more focused and much better understood by audiences. In addition, our students (even those initially nervous about making presentations) report that using the assertion-evidence approach has given them more confidence. To this workshop, participants are encouraged to bring a laptop and to create a couple of slides beforehand for their research using the following tutorial:  


Holding a master of science in electrical engineering and a master of fine arts in writing, Michael Alley is an associate professor of engineering communication at Penn State.  He is the author of The Craft of Scientific Presentations (Springer, 2013), which has been translated to Japanese and Chinese. Over the past decade, he has taught presentations to scientists and engineers across the United States and in Europe, Asia, and South America. Sites include Google, MIT, Harvard Medical School, the University of Illinois, Sandia National Laboratories, Texas Instruments, Simula Research Laboratory (Norway), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and the University of San Paulo. Alley's websites on presentations are top Google listings for both engineering presentations and scientific presentations.


Free and open to the public.